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New COVID-19 NORS FAQs Regarding Connecting with Facilities

nors-faqs-covid_Page_1.jpgThe COVID-19 NORS FAQs have been updated to include a question about documenting outdoor and “window visits” and three additional questions and answers regarding choosing complaint codes for issues connecting with facility staff.

NEW Q: Due to visitation restrictions related to COVID-19, I am not visiting residents inside long-term care facilities. However, I am visiting with residents outside on the grounds of the facility or providing “window visits” (having a conversation through a window or other designated space). Do outdoor visits and window visits count as visits? 

A: Yes. Since you are on-site at the facility and speaking with one or more residents, you may document outdoor visits and window visits as visits. Document the type of visit, i.e. complaint or non-complaint related in accordance with NORS codes. See Part IV of the NORS Training Materials, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) NORS Table 3, and the NORS FAQ about documenting visits for more information about documenting visits and other activities.

NEW Q: After several attempts to connect with facility staff, they are not returning my calls or emails. What complaint code do I use? 

A: Use complaint code B03 – Willful interference when a facility does not return calls or emails (after multiple attempts) made by an Ombudsman program. The ACL NORS Table 2 Examples and Reporting Tips for B03 says this code, “Includes……..interferes with the Ombudsman program having immediate access…….to meet with a resident in person, in private, or by phone”. 

NEW Q: The facility is not returning calls and/or emails to family members of residents. The family contacted my office for assistance, what complaint code do I use? 

A: Use complaint code B01 - Access to information and records when a facility does not return calls to family members of residents. The ACL NORS Table 2 Examples and Reporting Tips for B01 says this complaint code “includes access to the administrative records, policies, and documents, to which the residents have, or the general public has access, of long-term care facilities.” 

However, if the family member is attempting to follow-up with the facility staff regarding a concern and the facility is not returning their calls complaint code D05 – Response to complaints may be more appropriate. ACL NORS Table 2 defines this code as “facility staff ignores or trivializes a resident complaint or there is no facility grievance process thereby limiting the resident's ability to resolve a problem directly with the administration.”  

NEW Q: Facility staff are not answering phone calls after multiple attempts. What complaint code do I use? 

A: Use complaint code J01 – Administrative oversight when facility staff are not answering phone calls after multiple attempts. The ACL NORS Table 2 Definition for J01 says, “Mismanagement including but not limited to: administrator is absent, unresponsive, inadequately trained or not supervising staff; incomplete, missing or falsified record keeping: background screening not performed; illegal policies/practices and similar complaints.” 

View the FAQs on the NORC website or in a PDF »

NORS Online Training Course

This course is an online training tool to help Ombudsman programs understand and comply with National Ombudsman Reporting (NORS) reporting requirements. The course contains the same content as existing training materials. However, it provides users with an interactive online option to learn about NORS and take quizzes. This course is located in the NORC Training Center. You can find the Training Center at

Watch this short video as an introduction to the NORS Online Training Course. 



You can also access this course on the NORC website by visiting and clicking NORS under the Support tab. This is where you can find NORS data, FAQs, training documents, and recorded webinars. 

The NORS data collection was revised effective October 1, 2019. The revisions to NORS will enhance ACL’s ability to understand and report on: Ombudsman program operations, the experience of long-term care facility residents, and changes in long-term supports and services policies, research, and practices. NORC updated the four-part NORS training materials to reflect the updated codes, definitions, and activities and instruct programs on how to record the work they do. 

Read archived issues of NORC Notes. If you have a question, are not able to find a resource, or want to share training materials or program practices, please email


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